Joe Root praises under-fire England’s character


England captain Joe Root praised his team’s character after winning the Leeds Test against Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs to level the two-match series 1-1, lifting the side after a surprise and disappointing nine wicket loss in the first match.

England bowled out Pakistan for 134 runs after getting a 189-run lead in the first innings following their 363 with Jos Butler making an unbeaten 80.

Dominic Bess and Stuart Broad shared six wickets while James Anderson took two as Pakistan succumbed in 48 overs just before tea on the third day.

“It was a very tough week last week for the group,” said Root whose side was criticized after Lord’s defeat. “We had to show a lot of character. I asked a lot of things of them, and everything I asked was delivered out on the field … a really pleasing all-round performance.”

“Ultimately, you can’t ask for more as a captain. It’s a really great step for us in the right direction. We’ve set our stall out for a long period of time where we want to get to as a side, and we’ve decided we want to go about things differently in preparation.”

Root praised Butler and Bess, who scored 80 and 49 runs respectively that turned out to be match-winning for the hosts.

“The two guys have definitely performed exceptionally well throughout this game, throughout the series. The one thing we knew we were going to get from Dom was that character.

“He was padded up for 45 minutes, desperate to get in as nightwatchman, because he wanted to be involved in the game. He wants to bowl, he wants the ball in the field – that’s the sort of player he is. It’s no surprise to me that you get the results you’ve seen this week from him.

“Jos is very street-smart … he’s played a lot of international cricket, has huge amounts of experience, and he reads the game exceptionally well. It looks as if he’s got his head round that role at number seven, so I hope that’s something long term that can really benefit this side.

“You saw a glimpse of what he could potentially do right at the back-end of this knock. I’m really pleased with everything – Sam coming in and building that pressure for guys at the other end today showed a lot of maturity for such a young guy on Test debut.”

Asked was the Test a critical point in your captaincy, Root replied: : “Every Test match can be a critical point. It could potentially be the start of something, in the right direction or the opposite way.

“It’s now about replicating it more consistently, sticking to what we want to do long term around the actual games – and then really trusting all the work we’re doing, under pressure, just as we have done throughout these three days.”

Root praised Pakistan’s team and their selection for the tour.

“I knew they were a very talented team and I knew they were very shrewd with the bowlers they brought to make the most of the conditions. We knew it was not going to be a walk in the park and that was proved at Lord’s.

“You want to make sure you win your Test matches here at home regardless of the opposition. Generally we have a very good record here so in that regard it is a little disappointing but it would be wrong to think like that moving through the summer.

Root rejected criticism on coach Trevor Bayliss and called him an easy target for the critiques.

“Trevor is the easy target when the side is losing. It would have been very easy for the whole group to get tense and have a negative feel around but Trevor’s experience pulled through.

“You saw it on the field, the energy the guys had. The confidence after that great start was there all week and that is a big thing for the team moving forward.”